In his State of the Union
address, President Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative to
reverse Americas growing dependence on foreign oil by developing the technology
for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells to power cars, trucks, homes and businesses with no
pollution or greenhouse gases. The hydrogen fuel initiative
will include $720 million in new funding over the next five years to develop
the technologies and infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen
for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation. Combined with the
FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) initiative, President Bush is proposing a total of $1.7
billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells,
hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies.
Under the Presidents hydrogen
fuel initiative, the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by
fuel cells. The hydrogen fuel initiative complements the Presidents existing
FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed for mass
production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Through
partnerships with the private sector, the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR will make it practical and cost-effective for
large numbers of Americans to choose to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
by 2020. This will dramatically improve Americas energy security by significantly reducing the need for imported
oil, as well as help clean our air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Background on Todays Presidential
Fuel Cells are a Proven
Technology: Americas astronauts have used fuel cells to generate electricity since
the 1960s, but more work is needed to make them cost-effective for use in cars,
trucks, homes or businesses. Additional research and development is needed to
spur rapid commercialization of these technologies so they can provide clean,
domestically produced energy for transportation and other uses.
The Presidents Initiatives
Will Overcome Key Technical and Cost Barriers for Fuel Cells:
Lowering the cost of hydrogen: Hydrogen is four times as expensive to produce as gasoline (when
produced from its most affordable source, natural gas). The hydrogen fuel
initiative seeks to lower that cost enough to make fuel cell cars
cost-competitive with conventional gasoline-powered vehicles by 2010; and to
advance the methods of producing hydrogen from renewable resources, nuclear energy,
and even coal.
Creating effective hydrogen
storage: Hydrogen storage systems are now inadequate for
use in the wide range of vehicles that consumers demand. New technology is
Creating affordable hydrogen
fuel cells: Fuel cells are now ten times more expensive than
internal combustion engines. The FreedomCAR initiative is working to reduce
that cost to affordable levels.
Americas Energy Security is Threatened by Our Dependence on Foreign Oil:
America imports 55 percent of the oil it consumes; that is expected to
grow to 68 percent by 2025.
Nearly all of our cars and
trucks run on gasoline, and they are the main reason America imports so much oil. Two-thirds of the 20 million barrels of oil
Americans use each day is used for transportation; fuel cell vehicles offer the
best hope of dramatically reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Hydrogen fuel Will Help Ensure
Americas Energy Independence:
Through the hydrogen fuel initiative
and FreedomCAR, the federal government, automakers and energy companies will
work together to overcome the technological and financial barriers to the
successful development of commercially viable, emissions-free fuel cell
vehicles that require no foreign oil.
Hydrogen is domestically
available in abundant quantities as a component of natural gas, coal, biomass,
and even water.
The Department of Energy
estimates that the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR
initiatives may reduce our demand for petroleum by over 11 million barrels per
day by 2040 approximately the amount of oil America imports today.
Fuel Cells Will Improve Air
Quality and Dramatically Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
Vehicles are a significant
source of air pollution in Americas cities and urban areas. Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity to
power cars without any pollution.
The hydrogen fuel and FreedomCAR initiatives may reduce Americas greenhouse gas emissions from transportation alone by more than
500 million metric tons of carbon equivalent each year by 2040. Additional
emissions reductions could be achieved by using fuel cells in applications such
as generating electricity for residential or commercial uses.
Hydrogen is the Key to a Clean
It has the highest energy
content per unit of weight of any known fuel.
When burned in an engine,
hydrogen produces effectively zero emissions; when powering a fuel cell, its
only waste is water.
Hydrogen can be produced from
abundant domestic resources including natural gas, coal, biomass, and even
Combined with other
technologies such as carbon capture and storage, renewable energy and fusion
energy, fuel cells could make an emissions-free energy future possible.
The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative
Complements President Bushs FreedomCAR initiative:
In 2002, President Bush
launched FreedomCAR, a partnership with automakers to advance high-technology
research needed to produce practical, affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
that American consumers will want to buy and drive.
The hydrogen fuel initiative will
develop technologies for hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure
needed to power fuel cell vehicles and stationary fuel cell power sources.
President Bushs Budget
Provides Strong Support for Hydrogen Fuel and FreedomCAR:
President Bush proposes $1.7
billion in funding for the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR
over the next five years, including $720 million in new funding for hydrogen
The Presidents FY 2004 budget
request for hydrogen and fuel cell research and development and advanced
automotive technologies through the hydrogen fuel and FreedomCAR
programs is $273 million.